Azalin's Black Vault

The master of Ravenloft is having guests for dinner. And you are invited.
The Book-House: Find Ravenloft products.
Post Reply
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25470
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Azalin's Black Vault

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:41 pm

I had a question related to the door to Azalin's Black Vault posted on my Faceborg page. You won't be able to see my page unless you add me as a friend, so here is the meat of the brief discussion:
Kris Thomas on Facebook wrote:You're a Spelljammer guy, so maybe you'll be able to help, in Ravenloft (stay with me I'll get there) Forged of Darkness it gives some details of the lock of the door to Azalin's Black Vault it says that the combination lock is a representation of the planets of Azalins home realm, which is Greyhawk, I have no idea about Greyspace but I've got a vague idea that it's not quite standard, any ideas?
I posted this in reply:
David Shepherd on Facebook wrote:It might be worth starting a thread over at the Ravenloft forum at The Piazza for additional input, but the basic structure of Greyspace is:
* Oerth is in the centre of the crystal sphere (i.e. the sun, moon and other planets orbit Oerth),
* Oerth, the Sun, and Oerth's two moons are orbited by a sphere of asteroids called The Grinder (this might be represented by a circle on your door) and
* There are seven planets outside of The Grinder.

Crystal spheres also have other features (called Additional Astronomicals). Some of these might be featured on the door, but it is probably less likely they would be there.

I have a "master thread" for Greyspace in the Spelljammer forum at The Piazza and that has a full list of the celestial bodies, local organisations and some useful links:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1082
I think that solved Kris's question, but it leaves me wondering why the door to Azalin's Black Vault is some sort of diagram of Greyspace. If he comes from Oerth, why would he know the arrangement of the planets in his crystal sphere? Was he a spacefarer before he got sucked into Ravenloft, or was he just an astronomer?

Or is there some other reason why the door might represent the worlds of Greyspace?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

agathokles
Red Dragon
Posts: 7737
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 6:42 pm
Gender: male
Location: Milan, Italy
Contact:

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by agathokles » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:15 pm

Azalin was a powerful mage, as well as a king. He certainly had astronomers working for him, besides any personal knowledge he might had. Planets and stars are typical themes that have interested people since well before the moon landing in RW, there's no reason to think it would be different in fantasy worlds. Besides, there astrology might have some real significance.

GP

P.S.: a good reason for using them on the door is that few people in Ravenloft actually come from Oerth, so few people would have any clue about the combination, while it would be easy for Azalin to remember.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25470
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:28 am

agathokles wrote:Azalin was a powerful mage, as well as a king. He certainly had astronomers working for him, besides any personal knowledge he might had. Planets and stars are typical themes that have interested people since well before the moon landing in RW, there's no reason to think it would be different in fantasy worlds. Besides, there astrology might have some real significance.
Sure, but in the real world, we had not discovered all the planets until fairly recently. Even back when Mystara was published a lot of the moons in the solar system were still undiscovered.
agathokles wrote:P.S.: a good reason for using them on the door is that few people in Ravenloft actually come from Oerth, so few people would have any clue about the combination, while it would be easy for Azalin to remember.
That makes sense.

But is Oerth really a less common point-of-origin than other worlds? Has anyone ever estimated the percentages of NPCs from each campaign setting?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

agathokles
Red Dragon
Posts: 7737
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 6:42 pm
Gender: male
Location: Milan, Italy
Contact:

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by agathokles » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:52 am

We don't have magic -- Oerth astronomers can certainly leverage mystical instruments. However, the fact that not all planets are discovered does not mean there is no interest -- for example, one of the moons of Mystara is not generally known to exist.

GP

ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
Posts: 3533
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm
Gender: other

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by ripvanwormer » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:00 am

Big Mac wrote:Sure, but in the real world, we had not discovered all the planets until fairly recently. Even back when Mystara was published a lot of the moons in the solar system were still undiscovered.
Divination magic and actual space travellers would make it easier to know more about astronomy on Oerth than in the real world. We just discovered more moons of Pluto this year and I think there are many more moons and trans-Neptunian dwarf planets still to find, but it might be possible in D&D to simply cast commune and ask Celestian how many moons the Spectre has.

On the other hand, who says Azalin's diagram is 100% accurate? There might well be errors and ommisions. A druid (Curley Greenleaf) in the Gord books thinks his planetary system is heliocentric. Maybe Azalin does too.
Big Mac wrote: But is Oerth really a less common point-of-origin than other worlds? Has anyone ever estimated the percentages of NPCs from each campaign setting?
Azalin's realm has a special property that causes residents to forget their original worlds and believe they were always natives of Darkon (Azalin is immune, though this amnesia effect is related to the reason he can't learn new magic), so knowledge of Oerth or any world would be uncommon there.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25470
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:12 pm

agathokles wrote:We don't have magic -- Oerth astronomers can certainly leverage mystical instruments. However, the fact that not all planets are discovered does not mean there is no interest -- for example, one of the moons of Mystara is not generally known to exist.
Oh sure. There would be astronomy on Oerth, because it would be an aid to navigation. And some celestial bodies (the sun and two moons) would be easily visible with the naked eye (while others would be planets - wandering stars).

But I'm wondering if this door could indicate if Azalin is an astronomer or a former spacefarer.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Sure, but in the real world, we had not discovered all the planets until fairly recently. Even back when Mystara was published a lot of the moons in the solar system were still undiscovered.
Divination magic and actual space travellers would make it easier to know more about astronomy on Oerth than in the real world. We just discovered more moons of Pluto this year and I think there are many more moons and trans-Neptunian dwarf planets still to find, but it might be possible in D&D to simply cast commune and ask Celestian how many moons the Spectre has.
I guess that the Church of Celestian is the most easy way to get information about wildspace or the planes into the hands of groundlings.

I don't know about Azalin's history. Is there any indication he was associated with the Celestians at any point?
ripvanwormer wrote:On the other hand, who says Azalin's diagram is 100% accurate? There might well be errors and ommisions. A druid (Curley Greenleaf) in the Gord books thinks his planetary system is heliocentric. Maybe Azalin does too.
True. I guess that Gary Gygax didn't ask Jeff Grubb what to do before he wrote that novel*. :P

* = This is a joke. I do know that Gary Gygax wrote that book before Spelljammer was created. I have actually wondered what Curley Greenleaf's solar system would be like, in the past.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:But is Oerth really a less common point-of-origin than other worlds? Has anyone ever estimated the percentages of NPCs from each campaign setting?
Azalin's realm has a special property that causes residents to forget their original worlds and believe they were always natives of Darkon (Azalin is immune, though this amnesia effect is related to the reason he can't learn new magic), so knowledge of Oerth or any world would be uncommon there.
Now that is very interesting, because it would mean that a person from Oerth (or Greyspace) may well have the knowledge to open the door, but would not remember what the symbols mean.

Is there any way to get past the amnesia effect? Have people brought in books and then relearned things from the books (maybe not even realising that the books belong to them)?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
Posts: 3533
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm
Gender: other

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:48 pm

Big Mac wrote:I don't know about Azalin's history. Is there any indication he was associated with the Celestians at any point?
My recollection is that, in his mortal life, Firan Zal'honan actually drove all the clerics from his domain in Knurl, so no, he wasn't associated with any church (however, he created a church in Darkon called the Eternal Order). However, he doesn't have to have direct connections with the church to benefit from their knowledge; he just has to be able to read books.
Now that is very interesting, because it would mean that a person from Oerth (or Greyspace) may well have the knowledge to open the door, but would not remember what the symbols mean.

Is there any way to get past the amnesia effect? Have people brought in books and then relearned things from the books (maybe not even realising that the books belong to them)?
Domains of Dread says that everyone who lives in the domain for more than three months fervently believes they have always lived there. They may still know things, but natives of Ravenloft in general have no idea (or at least no proof) that other worlds exist. Books from other worlds would be very rare, and most people would assume they were works of fiction. I think their memories are retconned so that they're appropriate for someone who's spent their life in Darkon (so, for example, they'd only remember there ever being one moon in the sky).

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25470
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:03 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I don't know about Azalin's history. Is there any indication he was associated with the Celestians at any point?
My recollection is that, in his mortal life, Firan Zal'honan actually drove all the clerics from his domain in Knurl, so no, he wasn't associated with any church (however, he created a church in Darkon called the Eternal Order). However, he doesn't have to have direct connections with the church to benefit from their knowledge; he just has to be able to read books.
Good point. He would also have to want to read books about the planets.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Now that is very interesting, because it would mean that a person from Oerth (or Greyspace) may well have the knowledge to open the door, but would not remember what the symbols mean.

Is there any way to get past the amnesia effect? Have people brought in books and then relearned things from the books (maybe not even realising that the books belong to them)?
Domains of Dread says that everyone who lives in the domain for more than three months fervently believes they have always lived there. They may still know things, but natives of Ravenloft in general have no idea (or at least no proof) that other worlds exist. Books from other worlds would be very rare, and most people would assume they were works of fiction. I think their memories are retconned so that they're appropriate for someone who's spent their life in Darkon (so, for example, they'd only remember there ever being one moon in the sky).
So the door to Azalan's Black Vault would appear to match fictional books about Greyspce (from the point of view of the locals).

BTW: Is the moon in Darkon's sky a real moon? Does Raveloft actually have space?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
Posts: 3533
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm
Gender: other

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:18 pm

Big Mac wrote:So the door to Azalan's Black Vault would appear to match fictional books about Greyspce (from the point of view of the locals).
Yeah, the DM would have to make a map of Greyspace available to the PCs somehow in order to play fair with them. A moldering book from another world is certainly a way.
BTW: Is the moon in Darkon's sky a real moon? Does Raveloft actually have space?
I read a fan theory that the illithid domain of Bluetspur was actually located on Ravenloft's moon, at least after the Grand Conjunction.

Officially, I have no idea if any of the moons visible in the sky are real or not, but the fact that they vary from domain to domain suggests they aren't (otherwise, Ravenloft would have to have multiple wildspace areas). Most domains only have one moon, but Nuitari is visible in the sky of Sithicus (only to those of evil alignment; to others, there is no moon in Sithicus at all). The moon and sun seem to randomly change size in Vechor (whose darklord is also from Oerth). There are three greenish moons in the sky of Kalidnay. Sebua has an orange moon and almost no stars.

But I mean, if you want to have wildspace adventures in Ravenloft, it sounds like it could be fun to me. Maybe each domain has its own crystal sphere. That would raise the question of why the night sky above Darkon isn't based on Greyspace, but Darkon in general has very little to do with Oerth. It seems to be one of those domains based more on its lord's imagination than his homeworld. I kind of like the idea that Darkon had some sort of existence before Azalin, too, since there are other records of contact between the Adri Forest and otherworldly realms before Azalin disappeared there (in the vanishing of the City of Summer Stars and the first appearance of the Rhennee).

Or maybe the island domains are on other planets from the core, and have moons of their own. If you wanted to create a "Ravenspace," you could put each island of terror on a different planet. Or at least the ones with radically different heavens.

One connection between Darkon's sky and Greyspace, though, is that every year on the Winter Solstice the moon goes dark regardless of what phase it's in. This parallels the winter solstice on Oerth, when Luna goes dark.
Is there any way to get past the amnesia effect
Oh, and I found the answer to this in the Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume II. The amnesia effect ends as soon as a person leaves the domain. Victims can also regain their memories by looking in the Hall of Records in Avernus and finding the book corresponding to them. The book, written by an animated quill, will have their complete biography inscribed in it. By burning the book to ash, their memories will be restored (but if they stick around in Darkon a new book will appear in the hall 1d3 months later, causing them to lose their memories again). There's also an artifact called the quill of law that can make someone immune to Darkon's amnesia if it's used to cross out their name in the Book of Names.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25470
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:02 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:BTW: Is the moon in Darkon's sky a real moon? Does Raveloft actually have space?
I read a fan theory that the illithid domain of Bluetspur was actually located on Ravenloft's moon, at least after the Grand Conjunction.

Officially, I have no idea if any of the moons visible in the sky are real or not, but the fact that they vary from domain to domain suggests they aren't (otherwise, Ravenloft would have to have multiple wildspace areas). Most domains only have one moon, but Nuitari is visible in the sky of Sithicus (only to those of evil alignment; to others, there is no moon in Sithicus at all). The moon and sun seem to randomly change size in Vechor (whose darklord is also from Oerth). There are three greenish moons in the sky of Kalidnay. Sebua has an orange moon and almost no stars.

But I mean, if you want to have wildspace adventures in Ravenloft, it sounds like it could be fun to me. Maybe each domain has its own crystal sphere. That would raise the question of why the night sky above Darkon isn't based on Greyspace, but Darkon in general has very little to do with Oerth. It seems to be one of those domains based more on its lord's imagination than his homeworld. I kind of like the idea that Darkon had some sort of existence before Azalin, too, since there are other records of contact between the Adri Forest and otherworldly realms before Azalin disappeared there (in the vanishing of the City of Summer Stars and the first appearance of the Rhennee).

Or maybe the island domains are on other planets from the core, and have moons of their own. If you wanted to create a "Ravenspace," you could put each island of terror on a different planet. Or at least the ones with radically different heavens.

One connection between Darkon's sky and Greyspace, though, is that every year on the Winter Solstice the moon goes dark regardless of what phase it's in. This parallels the winter solstice on Oerth, when Luna goes dark.
I am not totally sure that a crystal sphere would be appropriate, with Ravenloft being called "the demiplane of dread", but then again, I do believe that the crystal spheres exist on more than the Material Plane itself (at the very least as a boundary to where people can planewalk onto the Material Plane).

I quite like the nested spheres idea.

Perhaps Ravenloft could be run as a single "planetary system" with objects like "moons" or suns, actually being things projected onto a crystal sphere surrounding each realm. That could explain for Lord Soth somehow causing a moon similar to the one of his homeworld to appear in the sky around Sithicus.

Spelljamming ships that fly up into the sky could pass through a crystal sphere surrounding a realm, find themselves surrounded by mist and then fly around until they stumble into a different realm.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Is there any way to get past the amnesia effect
Oh, and I found the answer to this in the Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume II. The amnesia effect ends as soon as a person leaves the domain. Victims can also regain their memories by looking in the Hall of Records in Avernus and finding the book corresponding to them. The book, written by an animated quill, will have their complete biography inscribed in it. By burning the book to ash, their memories will be restored (but if they stick around in Darkon a new book will appear in the hall 1d3 months later, causing them to lose their memories again). There's also an artifact called the quill of law that can make someone immune to Darkon's amnesia if it's used to cross out their name in the Book of Names.
Sounds like that artifact could be used to "win Darkon". ;)
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

kristhomas
Bugbear
Posts: 157
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:59 am
Gender: male

Re: Azalin's Black Vault

Post by kristhomas » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:26 am

Wow lovely load of info, thnx guys!

Post Reply

Return to “Ravenloft”